💬 Issue #34 - YOU DO YOU
The freedom to leave your job, the freedom to do your job, the freedom to let AI have a piece of your job.
Friday’s here and Gen Z is reimagining company culture, Apple has one weird trick keeping its employees happy, and the workers most likely to come in contact with AI are the least freaked out by it.
IS IT WORTH IT? LET ME WORK IT
Stand by for a PSA from Gen Z … “IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR JOB YOU CAN LEAVE. WE REPEAT IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR JOB YOU CAN LEAVE. YOU CAN LEAVE.”
Dollars to donuts, your grandparents were happy just to have a job. Not so for the youngest among us. For Gen Z, there’s more to work/life satisfaction than warm beer on the way to Westchester. According to Jackie Berardo, a researcher at Meta, “The methods and strategies that worked for past generations and corporations—consolidation, homogeneity, and perfectionism—are huge turnoffs for this generation.”
Instead, Gen Z workers are asking big questions and--at least in some cases--the void is answering back. Sometimes it even tosses up unlimited personal growth budgets. That’s because Gen Z founders are wrestling with those same questions, leading them to create new models for onboarding their Gen Z teams, changing the performance paradigm to measure efficiency rather than volume, and supporting their employees who are ready to pursue their own big idea.
Fast Company reports that “talented Gen Z employees are leaving, often to start their own businesses. According to LinkedIn data, 72% of Gen Zers are considering quitting their jobs.” And if a large number of those who leave are starting their own businesses, these new ideas around flexibility and efficiency are likely to shape more than just Gen Z’s expectations around work.
Call it the categorical imperative of the cubicle: work in such a way that your bosses give you the freedom to do you.
This sort of hustle might not work everywhere, but it’s du jour at Apple where perhaps the best perk--the company’s 10,000 square foot fitness center aside--is the gift of autonomy. Cupertino-based Apple has elected to “skip the corporate babysitting” in favor of rewarding high-achieving employees with the power to work as they see fit.
High risk, high reward? Perhaps, but no one walks in the door with the power to set their own hours. In addition to the company’s rigorous hiring process (“expertise, ease, and employability”), employees earn autonomy through their performance.
The trust flows both ways: employees must be confident that the “reward” of good work isn’t more work that less effective coworkers get to avoid. “To be the type of employer that employees are happy to work hard for, get to know your staff, be willing to relinquish control, and reward a job well done with freedom.”
ARE FRIENDS ELECTRIC
Wrapping your head around the future of AI can feel like, well, encountering something generated by AI -- a little uncanny, a little confusing, and a lot reflective of the culture at large. Will we be wiped from the face of the earth if we don’t get the help of a teenage boy and his terminator? Or is this speculation just paranoia, all bun and no burger?
If you’re looking for a place to start, you could do worse than the recent Pew Research Center report, “Which US Workers Are More Exposed to AI on Their Jobs?”. And if digests of government research aren’t your favorite companion at the lunch table, Reworked is out with a summary.
What do we know? Earlier technological revolutions set their sights on the working class. From the power loom to the steam engine, these technologies tackled jobs that involved human hands. AI is looking square at the folks in white collars. It’s not a set of mechanical hands but a hive of language-oriented processors.
This isn’t a huge surprise. The unexpected takeaway, perhaps, is that the majority of workers with high exposure to AI are welcoming it into their offices. The Luddites may have smashed their woolen mills, but your real estate agent and her accountant seem to like their new AI coworkers.
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YESTERYEAR TECH OF THE WEEK
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See ya next week,
– The EiT crew at Status Hero